“The administration miscalculated how many states would support this law, so now they’re using the IRS to push through provisions that Congress did not pass,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. “Oklahoma’s lawsuit has never been about the policy or politics of the Affordable Care Act; it is about the legality of what the IRS is doing and ensuring that the federal government complies with implementation of its own law.”
The state’s response, filed in federal court in the eastern district of Oklahoma, argues that an IRS rule punishes “large employers,” including local government, with millions of dollars in tax penalties in states with federal health care exchanges, which is not allowed under the Affordable Care Act. The rule also violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the complaint states.
“Congress provided a choice for Oklahoma and other states in implementation of the law,” Pruitt said. “The IRS is attempting through this rule to take away that choice.”
Oklahoma’s original lawsuit was filed in January 2011. In September, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision, General Pruitt filed an amended complaint to raise issues related to the law’s implementation.
Along with challenging the new IRS rule, the complaint asks the Court to recognize that the Supreme Court’s designation of the health care act’s individual mandate as a tax means it no longer conflicts with Oklahoma’s constitutional provision that says no law or rule can “compel any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.”
For a copy of the amended complaint and state response, go online to www.oag.ok.gov.